Africa: YouTube Use in Three of Francophone Africa’s Key Broadcast Markets – Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal Power Ahead While Cameroon Trails

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London — YouTube is Africa’s leading streamer and is a vital part of reaching new, young audiences and the diaspora. This week Russell Southwood looks at a comparison between YouTube viewing in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

Looking at YouTube subscribers and monthly views is a good way of assessing how well African countries are dealing with the digital transformation and in most countries broadcasters are the leading players. Broadcast media gives the historic players a key advantage, which some, like RTI in Cote d’Ivoire, have seized with both hands. In Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, there is less obvious Government interference with broadcasters (See item about allow Séverin Tchounkeu, Equinoxe TV In Brief below).

So what are the underlying stats that influence this comparison? Cameroon has the largest population (29 million), followed by Senegal (17.9 million) and then Cote d’Ivoire (10.7 million). In terms of GDP per capita, Cote d’Ivoire is at the top (US$4,4298) followed by Cameroon (US$3,600) and then Senegal (US$3,300). However, both Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal have significant diaspora.

In terms of the metric I’m looking at, I’ve taken the top 5 identifiable YouTube players providing the equivalent of broadcast output. Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal are fairly evenly matched although Cote d’Ivoire’s performance has the edge because it has a smaller population:

Social Blade Ranking/ Company Subs Views last month

2. Nouvelle Chaine Ivoriennce 558,000 9,337,000

3. RTI Officiel 1.99 m 6,085,000

13. Radiofusion Television 335,000 5,985,400

15. Abidjan.netTV 398,000 635,156

18. Raoul Wafo TV 156,000 590,473

Two points need to be made about these numbers. Firstly, the Social Blade ranking reflects longer-term trends and secondly, until recently RTI has not had any real competition.

Although Senegal’s numbers are larger they reflect both a larger population (almost twice as big) and probably a larger diaspora:

Social Blade Ranking/ Company Subs Views last month

3. TFM 1.93 m 15,714,000

4. Dakar Buzz TV 1.37 m 13,566,000

5. Senegal7 1.3 m 12,549,000

6. SSB Senegal 245,000 12,637,000

9. Lutte TV 699,000 6,546,000

Cameroon has both the largest population and a GDP per capita that sits midway between the other two but is clearly under-performing by comparison:

Social Blade Ranking/ Company Subs Views last month

4. Canal 2 International 236,000 1,057,000

6. Yema TV 274,000 988,166

9. MBN Studio 18,400 5,879,000

16. New Bell Music Channel 84,700 184,478

24. Famille Chretienne TV 12,500 94,114

Long-standing leading broadcaster Canal 2 International is well ahead of the others but still quite modest in terms of monthly views compared to players in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

So what’s affecting Cameroon’s performance? On one measure, home broadband prices are broadly similar across the three countries if you look at Orange’s offers. The main difference is that Orange is promoting bundled services including a telephone line, a TV bouquet with Canal Plus and a mobile offer. However, broadband network quality is significantly lower in Cameroon as there is no wholesale market competition. Control of the network rests with the not always impressive Camtel.

African broadcasters need to be on top of their digital streaming offers or they will begin to lose the next generation of viewers and fall out of touch with diaspora audiences.

Update Note: Following last issue’s story about the analogue switch-off in South Africa, South Africa’s full migration from analogue broadcasting services to digital has been delayed by three months. The Johannesburg High Court, dismissing the applications of e.tv and other intervening parties with costs, deferred the analogue switch-off from the March 31 deadline to June 30.

In Brief

The South African Netflix original teen series “Blood & Water” is currently in production, and fans around the world are excited. Netflix shared a teaser on their Instagram account with the caption: “Mzansi’s coolest kids are back! #BloodAndWater season 3 is currently in production. Here’s your first look.” The cast of the series includes Ama Qamata, who plays the role of Puleng Khumalo; Dillon Windvogel (Wade); Khosi Ngema (Filkile); Thabang Molaba (KB) and Arno Greeff (Chris).

Cameroon: The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the media regulations in Cameroon to lift its ban on reporters from Equinoxe TV, a private broadcasting station, and allow the station to operate freely. The National Communication Council media regulator released a statement that mentioned that Séverin Tchounkeu, Equinoxe TV CEO and Cédrick Noufele, editor-in-chief, were both banned as reporters for one month, and the station’s “Droit de Réponse” (“Right of Reply”) show was also banned from broadcasting during that month. A source indicated that the station planned to contest the decision by the regulator in court. Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator, said, “The regulator should allow Séverin Tchounkeu, Equinoxe TV CEO and Cédrick Noufele, Editor-In-Chief, to return to their work and refrain from censoring content of public interest.”

Nigeria: The highly anticipated reality show in Nigeria, The Real Housewives of Lagos (RHOLagos), streaming on Showmax, has collaborated with MTN Nigeria to lighten the burden of data costs and subscription fees for customers to watch the show on the streaming platform. Starting on 8 April 2022, the streaming package from MTN and Showmax will allow MTN customers to go to the MTN app or Showmax website and pay for the 30-day Showmax Mobile or Showmax Pro Mobile subscription by using their airtime voucher in exchange for discounted data.

South Africa: eMedia has revealed that a new Afrikaans channel will be added on its satellite broadcasting service, OpenView. The added channel, ePlesier, will include all-day-long broadcasting of eTV’s variety of Afrikaans-dubbed Turkish telenovelas, including Gebroke Harte, Bittersoet, Stilleto Vendetta, Kurt & Shura, Die Put, and Vierspel Vuurspel. The channel will be airing new episodes on weekdays and Omnibus repeats of the show on Saturdays for those who missed it during the week. The new channel, ePlesier, will start broadcasting on OpenView on 18 April 2022 on channel 112.

Nigeria: The Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) has revealed their latest box office numbers, noting that it generated US$827 000 from tickets sold in the country during March. CEAN National President, Mr Patrick Lee, made the announcement during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. The president indicated that the figures reflect a 45 per cent increase in comparison to March 2021’s US$451 272 return. Mr Lee added that this indicated a seven per cent increase in ticket sales during March, as US$720 000 was generated in February. He highlighted the films with the highest gross in the country during March as “The Batman”; “Uncharted”; “The Contractor”; “A Simple Lie” and “Turning Red”. “In March, we have sold US$827 000 worth of tickets; this is motivating compared to US$720 000 in February. The blockbuster film “The Batman” sold the highest tickets, making up 39 per cent of the total box office revenue in March.

Burundi: Burundi’s media authority announced Wednesday that it would lift a nationwide ban on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), nearly three years after the broadcaster was forced to stop operating in the East African country. The National Communication Council withdrew the license for the broadcasting giant in 2019, accusing it of breaching press laws and unprofessional conduct. “We reached the decision to reopen BBC radio starting today,” the regulator’s president, Vestine Nahimana, said.

East Africa: MultiChoice Kenya has given the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) equipment worth US$31 300 to assist with TV signal quality. Receiving the equipment on behalf of the corporation, KBC Acting Managing Director Samuel Maina mentioned that the Media Asset Management System (MAMS), together with Newsroom Management System (NMS), will enhance the strives taken by the entity to enrich its audio and video. Additionally, the investment will ensure that the entity obtains High Definition signal across the country for its channels, KBC Channel 1, Y254 and Heritage TV. Maina is confident that new systems will assist KBC to create new income streams by monetising archived content in digital formats such as VOD.